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Ava is Nine Months Old

Ava continues to be wonderful and fascinating as she learns to do more things.  One of my favorite things is to get Ava to laugh hysterically.  I will carry Ava from upstairs to the dining room while Jon chases behind us.  He will growl and Ava laughs and kicks.  She recently started screaming at him while we run away.  Here are a few other tidbits:

  • Ava gets upset if you lay with her in bed when it’s not time to sleep because she thinks you’re going to try to make her sleep.
  • Ava wanted to nurse and was very upset until I figured out that’s what she wanted.  It was a very sweet moment.  Of course the following weekend she refused to nurse for 14 hours.  It was excruciating!  Next weekend I’m bringing my pumping supplies home so I’m not dependent on Ava.

 

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is making excellent strides in her motor skills.  We went to a birthday party for a one-year old baby last weekend and I think the baby inspired Ava to try more crawling.  She was crawling backwards at their house. I think the only limitation is her upper arm strength and each day she can lift up more of her body.

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  • Ava can stand supported for several minutes.  She’s almost strong enough that you can let go of your hands and she’ll stand, but not quite.

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Foods and Liquids

  • Ava continues to love everything except sour food.  She’s also not the biggest fan of bananas.  
  • The biggest new food this month was parsnip soup.  She loves it mixed in with rice cereal.
  • She’s doing well with eating things with more texture.  She’s eaten scrambled eggs and salmon with gusto.  Maybe her two teeth help.  Yes, that’s right, she now has teeth, plural!

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  • One struggle is that Ava wants to feed herself, but she can’t use utensils.  I bought different types of devices to help her with feeding herself.  This silicon top with holes in it has been the most successful.  Ava likes it best with avocado.

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Sleep

  • Once Ava started teething and was miserable at night, she began sleeping in our bed starting at around 11 pm.  We’ve continued to keep her in the bed.  About 50% of the time Ava will sleep for about four hours and the subsequent wakeups are pretty easy because I feed her and she goes back asleep.

 

Language Skills

  • I can replace the “Noises” category with “Language Skills” because Ava is using words with proper context.  Ava knows that Jon is “dada” and Teddy Roosevelt is a dog or, as she says, “dah,” which is dog without the “g.”  She also said “mommy” once when she was really upset about me ignoring her.  Yesterday she started babbling with the m sound (“mamamamama”) so I’m hoping to hear “mama” consistently very soon.

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  • My favorite conversation from last week:
    • Ava: dada
    • Jon: mama
    • Ava: dada
    • Jon: Ma-Ma
    • Ava: (as if Jon is slightly stupid) DA DA

Ava’s Attachment

I don’t want to jinx it, but Ava seems to be better!  I enjoy checking my Fitbit sleep profile to confirm my suspicions.  Look how great she did two nights ago (last night was about the same) and how awful she did on Saturday:

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Ava has reached the attachment stage where she wants me to be with her all the time.  If someone else takes her, she’s usually fine unless she sees me.  If she sees me I have to go to her and give her kisses.  Yesterday morning I forgot something at home so I tried to run in for a second and Ava started crying because I didn’t go to her first.  I ran to her and kissed her while her nanny was holding her and she grabbed at my arms and hair, trying to climb into my arms.

I understand her perspective.  She got so excited that I came back for her and when I didn’t go to her, she felt ignored.  About a week ago I made the same mistake and Ava cried while she said “mommy.”  It completely broke my heart.  She hasn’t said mommy since.

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Ava has learned how to wave when people come and go.  If she’s really excited she’ll wave and kick.  She’s such a happy baby when she’s not teething.

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Ava’s motor development is great.  She’s not crawling but she does a lot of twisting, twirling, and scooting.  She can walk her legs up with her butt in the air, almost in a downward dog pose.  She’s been trying to wedge herself underneath the couch.

Ava can also play games.  She will sit on the mat and if you roll a ball to her, she’ll roll it back.  I’ve been having so much fun with her.

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At night Ava sleeps in the bed between us with one hand on each of us to prevent us from leaving the bed.  She booby traps us!

Ouch

Excuse me, I have something to say to you.

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No, not you, baby.  Your tooth!

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That tooth is an asshole.  Ava woke up at 4:13 a.m. and was inconsolable.  I had to walk with her, rock with her, and it took hours for her to fall back asleep.  She was only comfortable nestled into my neck as I walked with her until I finally convinced her to nurse, and then she fell asleep.  Today she was unhappy the whole day despite frequent doses of Tylenol.  She didn’t nurse for 12 hours, and then she only nursed on one side.

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I tried to get Ava to nurse during the day and she bit me.  She bit me!  There are still marks on me.  Because we always play with her and pretend to be hurt when she hits us, when I yelped she laughed at me.  If this keeps up, I may have to wean Ava.

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Please tell me this is just a phase.

Organizing My Life

Before Ava was born, I thought I would have plenty of time for a baby. I always managed to squeeze in a little more time for an emergency work project, so why not put a baby into the mix? HAHAHAHA! It turns out that babies are very time consuming. I know, right?

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Multitasking and Organization

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop multitasking and get more organized. I am still very short on sleep and easily distractable. So trying to do work and quickly checking the internet is a horrible idea.  I installed a Chrome extension to block specified websites like Facebook after 11 minutes.  It’s all configurable, and that is enough time to check junk websites in between projects.

For organization, I rely on technology. Google is my savior. Jon and I have already been sharing calendar entries for years. Now I also schedule in weekly tasks, such as when I’m supposed to take out the garbage so I don’t forget. I also make sure to instruct my Nexus 4 to remind me to do things at times when I can actually respond to the task. For example, I create a lot of reminders for 10:30 a.m. because I do my best work in the morning.

Meal Planning and Grocery List

I use a task application to plan meals for the week.  I add meals as tasks and when you mark the tasks as completed, it grays out the task so it’s still visible but not prominent.  If everyone likes a meal, I can add it into the rotation.  If the meal is bad, I delete the task and it’s removed from the application.

I’m very proud of my homemade chili-cheese nachos.

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For making my grocery list, I used to use an application that allowed me to define different stores and I would add items for each store.  It didn’t work perfectly because if one store was out of an item and I had to go to another store, I would have to toggle through all the lists.

 

A few weeks ago, Jon bought an Amazon Echo and it’s replaced my old grocery list application.  It’s such a fun application.  You speak instructions, like “Alexa, add spinach to my shopping list” and it recognizes my speech about 80% of the time.  You can also ask it questions like “Alexa, how many cups are in a quart,” which is so helpful when you’re cooking.  The Echo also plays music from your Prime list, from music you stored in the Amazon cloud, and they just added the ability to play music from Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora.

 

For recipes, I use Evernote and it’s fantastic.  I can add recipes and categorize them according to tags.  I try to have different types of meals each week, such as a potato dish.  So I can search for all recipes that include potato as an ingredient and decide on the best one for my potato dish of the week.  I like including the recipe in Evernote, making my own modifications, and adding a URL from the original recipe at the bottom.

Cookie

Nom, nom, nom.  This is such a good cookie.

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Oh hey, what’s that in the background?

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Keep away from my cookie!

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Ava went to Chicago last week!  The flight was great.  Ava did a fantastic job of drinking from bottles during takeoff and landing so the air pressure change didn’t bother her too much.  The flight to Chicago started at 6:50 p.m.  Ava slept for an hour and then she was awake, but calm.  She had trouble getting comfortable on my lap.  The flight back was at 3:40.  Ava slept for an hour and the rest of the time she wanted me to keep her entertained.  The three hour flight was about as much as she can handle.  It lucky that I had a bag full of toys.

 

Ava met my mom, my grandmother, and lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Everyone loved her, naturally.  She slept in a pack ‘n play and it didn’t change her sleeping schedule.  Considering how hard the transition was to get Ava to sleep in her crib, it’s amazing that she slept in the pack ‘n play without protest.

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In other news, tooth!  This is the tooth that took over the household.

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Ava’s sleep has been even worse that before.  For the past two days she woke up for the day at 5:30.  Not cool, Ava, not cool.  She might be teething again or sick.

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Ava has learned to wave bye.  She waves when people come through the front door.  It’s so cute!

 

Ava is about to go off to college!  Who is this grownup girl?

Give me your camera.

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is so squirmy lately.  I’m having trouble changing her diapers because she twists onto her stomach, lifts her legs, or tries to take her diaper off.
  • This month Ava started lifting up her legs in preparation for crawling, but she can’t move by making the motions.  
  • These days she gets around by rolling everywhere.  She’s good at rolling in a circle to change direction.

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  • Ava is standing for longer and longer.  I wonder if she’ll bypass crawling and go straight to walking.

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Foods and Liquids

  • For Christmas Jon bought me a slushy maker  and a great recipe book with different recipes for slushies and smoothies.  I’ve been trying different mixes for Ava and myself.
  • I think her favorite smoothie was yogurt, cherries, and pomegranate juice.  Ava had 1/2 cup of it, which is possibly the most I’ve ever seen her eat in one sitting and it wasn’t even mealtime.  It was supposed to be a snack!
  • She also really liked apples, carrot, and ginger.  I think that was my favorite.
  • The biggest failure was kiwi, orange, mango, and yogurt.  Ava disliked it so much she pushed it out of her mouth.  I suspect she doesn’t like mango.
  • I also made butternut squash, which Ava enjoyed.
  • I’ve been giving Ava different types of cookies and puffs so she can practice her grabbing skills.  She doesn’t have a pincer grip yet, but she can grab the cookies.

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  • Ava cut a tooth this month.  I’m excited about her being able to use her teeth to eat different types of food.

Sleep

  • Sleep was going really well for five straight days.  Ava was sleeping for 4-6 hours straight, and I was also sleeping as opposed to several months ago when if she slept for awhile I would wake up in a panic.  But then she cut a tooth and she either wakes up three times a night, or even worse.  

Noises

  • This month Ava called me “Ah-gee.”  I think it’s been a week or so since she said it, though.  But she’s called Jon “da da” consistently.  She also says “hi” in the appropriate context.  

Ava Grows up

My baby has a tooth coming through!  I could feel the nub last Saturday and I can see an outline of the tooth today.  This may be one of the last pictures of her toothless gummy smile.

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She’s changing so quickly.  Ava can sit up on her own and she’s been playing by herself.  She prefers it when you give her new toys to play with every few minutes and she likes the toys that make noises.

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She’s scooting less and rolling more lately.  Ava can push her legs up with her knees, but she can’t move her legs and propel her body.  She just practices the movement and then rolls over.

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Before Ava cut her tooth, she was sleeping wonderfully.  I had been getting 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Last night she woke up at 9:30; 11:00; 12:30, 3:45; 5; 6; and then at 7 when she was up for the day.  Tonight I’m going to give her Tylenol because I’m working on a theory that she wakes up because her teeth are bothering her.  Wish us luck!

 

 

2014 Year in Review

It’s that time again!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I had a C-section.  I really wanted a natural birth, but for Ava’s safety and my own, it was necessary to have a C-section.  I’m not disappointed because both of us are healthy, which is the most important thing.  The doctor said I could try for a VBAC if I had a second baby, but I think I’ll probably elect to have another C-section if and when the time comes.  A doctor friend of mine pointed out that VBACs can result in this (seriously, do not click if you’re at all squeamish), and as of now there is no way that I want to risk that happening.

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2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only resolution for 2014 was to keep up with my classes.  I took an additional quarter of classes in 2014, but then stopped because I didn’t want to have Ava in the middle of the quarter.  And then it was too demanding to handle a baby and work to add classes to the mix.  I’d like to start the classes again, but I’m taking the Utah bar in February, so the earliest I would take classes is next summer.

My resolutions for 2015 are as follows:

(1) Lose weight.  I was doing really well before Halloween and then I got cocky and indulged in too much candy.  Chocolate is truly my weakness.  Then with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve done a lot of backsliding.  My goal for 2015 is to lose 30 pounds.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to go back to counting calories and, at least for the first month, try to detox from chocolate.

(2) Stay focused.  I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation or what, but I have a lot of trouble concentrating.  I started using a Chrome extension from StayFocused.com that starts blocking specified websites if you spend too much time on them.  It’s helping a lot.

(3) Get organized.  I have too much work to do in the time allotted.  I’m also scatterbrained.  So I’ve been relying on technology to help organize my life.  I have a post coming up about the specific technology I’m using.  I also want to finish organizing the house.  My closet and bureau are too disorganized and my papers are in too many places.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Me!

Tiffany’s hat and blanket put to good use!

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4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

None.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

2015 is going to be the year that I become more settled about myself.  Last year I felt very out of sorts because I was confused about what I wanted to do with my career and how becoming a mother would change my sense of self.

I was very scared that I would be a terrible mother.  When Ava was born and in her fussy stage, I was scared to be alone with her.  I didn’t know what to do when she cried and I didn’t want to harm her through ineptitude.  But after she cried for hours and was still okay, I eventually became comfortable with her.  And now I have no problem taking care of her.  She rarely cries now and it’s mostly only for silly things like when I put her down on the bed and she’d prefer that I hold her.  Each week brings new skills and I love seeing her change.

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I haven’t quite solved the career situation, but I’m okay with it for now.

So for 2015, I want to become more comfortable with myself and manage my anxiety better.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 11, 2014 is the day Ava was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This seems to be the answer for a lot of these questions, but making the most perfect beautiful baby that has ever existed is quite an achievement.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I let my lack of sleep interfere with work.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I’m not sure if the C-section counts as an injury, but it has taken awhile to recover.  I still don’t have complete feeling around the scar, and it often twinges.  I haven’t been sick since Ava was born, knock on wood.  Can nursing keep you healthy?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

It hasn’t arrived yet, but Restoration Hardware had a good sale right before Christmas, so I splurged on a cabinet for my bathroom.  I’m pretty excited to have a place to put towels again.  I’ve been living out of a tiny closet in the bedroom, and it’s a hard adjustment from the two walk-in closets I had at the old house.  I know you’re weeping for me right now.

I also bought these wonderful socks that have the pattern of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” on them.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Buying a new house and paying for a nanny.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Ava eclipses all other exciting things, but I’m also pretty psyched to have a huge kitchen with an oven rack.  For Christmas Jon bought me a beautiful cookware set.  Guess who made it?  That’s right, OXO!  Jon had a gorgeous ring custom made for me with Ava’s birthstone on it.  I love it so much.

14. What songs will always remind you of 2014?

I sang a lot of Beatles songs to Ava, especially in the first couple months when I was trying to get her to stop crying.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? Much, much happier.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, but only because I’m not pregnant.
– richer or poorer? Poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Sleep.  But I didn’t have much of a choice in that one.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry about things that were beyond my control.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Spending time with family and cooking delicious meals.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

I still love The Walking Dead but I haven’t actually watched the latest season because Ava won’t tolerate TV.  I have kept current with The Big Bang Theory, though.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I thought I read a ton of books in 2014, but according to Goodreads I’ve only read 15.

I went through a huge post-apocalyptic phase.  Jon turned me onto the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch.  I also really enjoyed the classic Alas Babylon by Pat Frank and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  I was disappointed in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  It was on a list of the best books in 2014 so I was expected it to be fantastic.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood was so good, it’s making me consider reading The Handmaid’s Tale again.  I didn’t like it the first time I read it, but I might enjoy it more if I treated it as a literary work instead of a book to read for pleasure.

In more fluffy selections, I liked Sleep is for the Weak, which is a compilation of selections from mommy blogs, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?


I discovered St. Vincent this year and I liked J. Mascis’ solo album.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The only film I can remember watching is Birdman.  It was fantastic.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34 and I worked.  Jon and I got sushi for lunch.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If there was a way to feel like I could be both an amazing mother and a great attorney.

25. What kept you sane?

Jon took care of Ava in the mornings to help me get more sleep during a critical time.

Merry Christmas II

The new house is a lot smaller than the old one so we didn’t put up a big tree this year.  Instead I picked up a lighted tree from Restoration Hardware.  Before adding the ornaments, I put Ava’s toys on the tree.  What do you think?

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I am ridiculously sentimental when it comes to Christmas trees.  I love picking up ornaments each year and reminiscing about them each year.  My aunt gives us wonderful ornaments and I really cherish them.  She gave us an ornament with Jon and my wedding anniversary on it, a tiny blue jay, a snowman with my name, and countless others.  This year she gave us a baby’s first Christmas ornament.

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I bought an ornament for Ava as well.

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Jon also decorated the outside of the house.  In addition to the usual lights, put in two flamingos.

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